Hot List: Brek Shea shows promise 

February, 24, 2013

For all the criticism heaped on Jurgen Klinsmann's inexperienced back line following the Americans' lackluster World Cup qualifying loss in Honduras earlier this month, the U.S. coach's main beef wasn't with the lack of cohesion shown by his four young defenders but rather the performance turned in by his veteran midfield.

So with the Yanks' upcoming qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico now less than a month away (March 22 and 26, respectively), Klinsmann and the rest of the U.S. technical staff must be thrilled by recent developments abroad.

Not only did two of the national team's midfield stalwarts, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, turn in perhaps their finest games of the season over the past few days, but Brek Shea's return to action after five months on the sidelines and Edgar Castillo's impressive showing in South America's top club tournament suggest that Klinsmann may have a few in-form wing options heading into the next two games.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.